My eldest daughter is turning eleven years old tomorrow…eleven. I remarked the other day that she will no longer be able to hold up her fingers and show people how old she is. She needs an extra finger now. This year I will have to flash both of my hands 4 times to show people how old I am…we are growing up. Birthdays are the perfect time to get introspective and thoughtful. In case you didn’t know, being eleven is kind of a big deal. I can remember being eleven years old and looking back there are quite a few things I wish I knew when I was a tween. So, today I am sharing my decades of wisdom with my eleven year old daughter (even though I know she probably won’t listen).parenting a tween

Being Popular Doesn’t Mean You Are The Best – At a time when popularity contests turn “ordinary” people into instant “stars” this concept is going to be hard to understand. When I was a kid I was popular. My friends were the “cool” kids. We thought it meant we were the “best” and in turn that if you weren’t popular, you were the “worst”. We were wrong. It took time to figure this one out…but eventually I learned that popularity has nothing to do with ability. I was never better than anyone else. Whichever side of the popularity equation my daughter ends up on, I hope she understands that everyone is valuable. 

What You Want Isn’t Always What You Need - Want versus need. Here is a lesson I try and teach my daughters every single day. The other day we were at a shopping mall and my daughters begged me for one of those super expensive dolls that are all the rage right now. When they finished making their arguments for why they wanted the doll, I asked if they actually needed the doll. Sure we could afford to buy the doll…it wasn’t about the money. The question is should we get everything we want, or should we stop and think about what we need. What is the value of having a adding one more doll to a room full of dolls? Are there better ways to spend our money?  

Use Your Voice Wisely - Everyone has a voice…an opinion…a point of view. As a growing tween, my daughter is stepping out on her own more, without me around, I hope she finds her voice and uses it wisely. This is the time when social pressures start to have an impact on girls, and boys. Peer pressure is rearing it’s, sometimes, ugly head. I hope my daughter will listen to her inner voice and when she speaks out, her voice will be strong when it needs to be and kind when it needs to be.

You Are Beautiful - Okay, I don’t mean beautiful in the superficial way. I know that eleven year old girls start changing and developing into young women. Sometimes those changes aren’t very pretty…they can look weird…they can feel uncomfortable…they can make a little girl lose sight of her personal beauty. When I went through puberty I felt like a freak of nature. I was stinky, had super frizzy hair and my new found breasts got in the way of my ringette equipment. As her personal definition of beauty develops over the next few years, I hope my daughter knows that all of these changes are the caterpillar turning into the butterfly.  

There is No Rush To Grow Up - Yep, this one is perhaps the hardest of all. This year my daughter will be in grade 6 and which means her class is the oldest class in the school. They will be the “big kids”. Eleven year olds start gaining more responsibility and more freedom, which I think is awesome. I’m ready to put my trust in my daughter and watch her succeed, or fail. My only hope is she remembers that she is still a little girl. In the grand scheme of things eleven is still a little girl and holding on to that spirit is an awesome thing. 

I’m Right Here, Always - I cannot say this one enough to my girl…I’m right here, always. I have tucked her into bed almost every night of her life. In those quiet moments we chat about everything. I will continue to tuck my daughter in and hope that she understands that I am always ready to chat about anything and everything. As a mental health care professional, I saw what can happen when children lose touch with their parents, whether real or perceived. I may not always be her number one confidant but, I am always available, open and ready to listen.

There are so many things I wish my daughter knew…but, she’s going to have to live through it to learn. 
What do you wish you knew when you were a tween? Please, share your thoughts in the comments below.


Kid Made Plastic Bottle Cap Necklace

plastic bottle lid necklace

Last week I shared an idea packed post, with over 25 ways to use recyclables as craft supplies. After compiling all of those posts we were super inspired to get crafty. This week, the weather took a turn for the cool and rainy around here, the perfect time to pull out some craft supplies. We […]

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Summer Berry Galette

summer berry galette

It is the absolutely the best time to find fresh, local fruit at our neighbourhood farmers’ market. We were at the farmers’ market today and we could not resist picking up some gorgeous blueberries, cherries and raspberries. What makes them so glorious? Each fruit is perfectly ripe right now and full of so much potential. […]

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Intro to Architecture for Kids with Lego

intro to architecture for kids with lego

At the end of the school year, my daughters brought home mountains of paper work from their classrooms. The pages were filled with drawings and stories. One particular sketch book drew my attention. As I was flipping through my youngest daughter’s sketchbook I noticed that most of the pages were filled with drawings of buildings. […]

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25+ Recycled Crafts for Kids

recycled crafts for kids

For this week’s Family Eco-Challenge we’ve been taking a look through the trash. We have been digging through our recycling bin to make certain that we aren’t putting any awesome craft supplies in the bin. There are so many creative ways to make, build and play with the items we would typically recycle. Water bottles, […]

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Lemon and Chamomile Shortbread Cookies

lemon and chamomile shortbread

Last year we planted chamomile in our tiny backyard garden. We planted the chamomile with the end goal of making our own tea. The chamomile grew and grew and grew. We learned how to harvest the flowers correctly and dry the flowers. In the end, we shared our very own tea bags as gifts last Christmas. So, […]

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Summer Farm Camp in the Big City

farm camp 1

This week has been my favourite week so far this summer. My kids were in camp. You might think I love camp week because it means the kids are away. Yes, that is an added bonus. What I love most about camp week is the camp experience my kids have. We are so fortunate to […]

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How to Use Coffee Grounds in the Garden

how to use coffee grounds in the garden

Okay, I’m back. Let’s get back to business and back to the Family Eco-Challenge. The other day the girls and I were standing in line at Starbucks, when we noticed a bin filled with silver bags and a sign offering these bags of used coffee grounds…for free. Always in search of a “good deal” we […]

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14 Indoor Toys to Take Outside This Summer

indoor toys to take outdoors this summer

Here we go with another edition of the Outdoor Play Party. What I truly love about outdoor play is how simple it is. I mean really, all you have to do is go…out…side. Sometimes we get stuck thinking that some toys and items around the house are only meant for indoor play…why would we ever […]

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Summer Scavenger Hunt for Kids

summer scavenger hunt for kids

We love scavenger hunts. My kids love scavenger hunts because they love searching for things and they love the competition…who will find the item first. I love scavenger hunts because they help me pass time with the kids. Yep, when I have a day full of errands if I pull together a simple scavenger hunt, […]

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